$900 billion plus; `Stimulus' bill passes dubious milestone.


With the Senate's addition of lavish tax credits for auto purchases and an infusion of cash for the National Institutes of Health, the economic stimulus package yesterday broke through the $900 billion mark. The seeming inevitability that the bill would pass that dubious milestone is no comfort to taxpayers and generations of Americans yet to be born.

Such unfathomable sums represent borrowing that is unprecedented in the nation's history. Even the modest show of restraint by a small band of moderate GOP senators hoping to cut "tens of billions" from the legislation may be calculated in part to give political cover to colleagues who wish to vote for the bill, laden with succulent pork for just about everyone.

Just days ago, we held out hope that the Senate might rise to its responsibility to slow this irrational spending binge, in which the goal of providing timely economic stimulus has been forgotten. But the deletion of a few hundred million dollars here and there for ill-considered "Buy American" provisions, tax breaks for Hollywood or honey bee insurance is inconsequential in the context of the hundreds of billions to be spent.

The real problem lies in vast new spending for Medicaid reimbursements, public schools and local government that will produce no economic boost anytime...

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